What can make robots even cooler? That’s the question The LEGO Group and Autodesk asked when they announced a partnership earlier this year. That collaboration led Autodesk to the development of innovative 3D interactive building instructions for the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® series of programmable toy robots and, on September 1, 2013, customers were given access to those instructions via the LEGO MINDSTORMS 3D Builder App Powered by Autodesk® Inventor® Publisher – available for iOS and Android tablets – that works together with the world’s leading construction toy brand’s third generation robotics product, LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3.
Providing an alternative to traditional paper building instructions, the 3D building instructions powered by Inventor Publisher allow MINDSTORMS users to digitally view and interact with the LEGO components of all five EV3 hero models during each step of the building process, making it easier to assemble the sometimes complicated robots. In this 3D virtual environment, users can zoom in on a part, rotate the model, or pause the animation to see exactly how parts need to be fitted together.
“When you build a MINDSTORMS robot, you build from all surfaces, so you actually build in 3D,” said Camilla Bottke, MINDSTORMS project manager at LEGO. “A lot of children today do not distinguish between physical and digital play so by having the digital building instructions alongside the physical model, with an ability to rotate and zoom in 3D, the process starts to make a lot more sense.”
The launch of MINDSTORMS EV3 also marks the unveiling of a social media hub for all things robotics, www.LEGO.com/mindstorms, which allows users to create a profile, post their creations and like and follow other builders. The 3D Builder instructions are also accessible directly on the new MINDSTORMS community hub through a web browser, enabling MINDSTORMS builders to access the technology directly without any additional downloads.
To help celebrate this latest release, LEGO MINDSTORMS hosted a Robo Lunch Event at the SOMA StrEAT Food Park with the MINDSTORMS-sponsored SparkTruck, which has been travelling the country this summer encouraging kids to find their “inner maker.” Owned and run by Stanford University’s Design School, the SparkTruck was onsite to show off their mobile lab while demos of the 17 MINDSTORMS EV3 hero and bonus models were given by MINDSTORMS Expert Panel members who contributed to the new product.
The event also hosted innovative local companies including Facebook, Pandora and Yahoo!, who had been given advance access to the new kit and went head-to-head in a LEGO robot building challenge to build and program a San Francisco Bay Area-inspired robot. The Autodesk Instructables team also participated and created a robot that spoke to San Francisco culture in that it was so busy looking at its iPhone it kept bumping into things around it.
Click here for more information and images about the Instructables team robot.
To learn more about MINDSTORMS or to order MINDSTORMS EV3, please visit www.LEGO.com/mindstorms.